It doesn’t take any rocket science to see cracks in the tall tale Dr Abel Obadiah Mailafia was trying to build. After all, even Mailafia himself, at a particular juncture of that infamous interview, felt that the anchor needed some reassurance to be convinced.
He, therefore, threw a well-known, but a workable trick that every Nigerian finds handy when he or she is in a desperate need to bamboozle or bulldoze ways.
“Don’t joke with what I am saying, I have a PhD from Oxford University. I am a central banker, we don’t talk nonsense. So don’t joke with what I am saying. ..I heard this from the high authority, the commanders of the killers and Boko Haram in Nigeria,” he boasted.
But that’s normal in Nigeria. When we break traffic rules, or jump on the queues and get a query for our misdemeanour, we quickly tell everyone that tries to listen that we a “somebody”. “Do you know who I am?” And it has worked most of the times unless if you try it with soldiers inside their barracks.
This is the psychology Dr Mailafia deployed by flaunting his credentials as an Oxford alumnus and former deputy governor of the apex bank. Unfortunately for him, he ended up dragging the names of two reputable institutions into a wrong discourse.
If the syllogism Mailafia wanted to establish was that a PhD holder from Oxford University or a Nigerian central banker would not speak nonsense, he ended up deconstructing it with that ill-fated outing.
The PhD holder has now firmly established the opposite with this unenviable ignominy of corroborating, to use his vocabulary, that they are like the rest of us. If there was a doubt, it’s now been cleared that they too weave incongruous conspiracy theories and peddle fake news. When next we hear a claim like his, we will simply refer the claimant to Mailafia’s bunkum.
Few hours after making some grave but reckless allegations capable undermining the nation’s security—something unbecoming of a serious PhD and genuine central banker—Dr Mailafia brazenly dismissed everything as “uncorroboratable” trash (emphasis mine).
“I should have taken more care to corroborate some of the information that I received but perhaps some of it was uncorroborated,” while brazenly trying to find a right euphemism for the phrase, impudent lie.
But this is a man who stressed the fact he was speaking to Boko Haram’s “high command” in the thoughtless interview and the reason he must be believed like Saint Paul. Now pressed to clarify, he told the world that it was Fulani traders in his village that told him.
One must, however, give credits to the officers of the Department of State Service (DSS), who did a remarkable job by giving Mailafia an ample opportunity to deconstruct himself before the whole world.
It’s not every day–even with your Oxford PhD and a past as a deputy governor of the central bank–that you get a chance to do a national broadcast and quote Nelson Mandelas, albeit, in vain.
When it’s the time for the Oxford alumnus to share with the whole nation the story behind his “un-corroborated” tale, which every statesman in the county receives in his lavishly furnished living room in the evening, Dr Mailafia fell short–apart from adding something to our lexicon, “uncorroboratable” since unsubstantiated or unverified would sound so awkward and embarrassing.
Even with his PhD, Mailafia ironically wanted to convince us that Boko Haram was going into its second phase of the violent campaign by eliminating prominent Nigerians in our cities. But how did he quickly forget that was the first phase? Boko Haram attempted to kill the Late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero at the heart of the ancient city. There were his contemporaries in Borno State that were not so lucky to survive the Boko Haram’s machinations.
Boko Haram was fully embedded in our urban areas and even engaging us in guerrilla warfare until they were dislodged.
But why would Boko Haram start a civil war since they are fighting jihad to establish a Khaliphate? Civil wars are fought by patriots who believe in keeping the country together. For Boko Haram, it’s a zero-sum war with Nigeria. The Boko Haram I know is not looking at Nigeria as a whole. They are fighting to get a chunk of it.
Yet, the bigger poser is, why would a secretive terror organization like Boko Haram share its strategic war plans with Mailafia? Is he a board member or a deputy governor? Only Mailafia has answers to this.